On Tuesday, President Donald Trump took a tough-on-crime, tough-on-immigration stance when addressing members of the National Sheriffs Association at the White House.
While meeting with sheriffs from across the country, President Trump touted his push for stricter immigration policies, adding that such reforms are crucial in the fight against gang and illicit drug activity.
“My administration stands proudly with America’s sheriffs, deputies and law enforcement officers. And we stand, also, 100 percent with strong law and order. We want you to just keep doing your job as well as you’re doing it,” Trump began.
As a candidate and as president, Trump has clearly defined himself as a friend of law enforcement, and has continued to call for policies and legislation that would aid in their efforts to fight crime.
Trump used his time with the Sheriffs Association to push for immigration legislation that is currently being debated in Washington, D.C., arguing that new laws would benefit the law enforcement community.
“We’re asking Congress to support our immigration policy that keeps terrorists, drug dealers, criminals and gang members out of our country. We want them out. We don’t want them in,” he said.
“And right now we’re working on DACA, we’re working on immigration bills and we’re making them tough so you people can enforce the laws — sometimes tough because of the laws you have to enforce.”
In exchange for codifying the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, the Trump administration, along with conservative Republicans in Congress, is calling for a strengthening of the country’s border security.
“That’s why we’re asking the senators to support legislation that contains the three vital elements of a safe immigration system. So we’re, right now, in the Senate. We’re in Congress. Altogether, we’ll see what happens with DACA,” he continued.
The three big-ticket items the president wants are funding for border security, including a massive wall on the U.S. southern border; an end to chain migration; and and end to the visa lottery.
He went on to poke fun at the concept of the visa lottery system, asking, “Anybody in favor of the lottery, where you pick it out and you say, ‘Good, we have a new United States citizen’? Doesn’t work. And they’re not giving us their finest. That we can tell you.”
The president ended by thanking the members present, and said that his administration is listening to law enforcement’s input in “everything we do” to help make communities in the country more safe. The meeting was well received by the National Sheriffs Association, who applauded at the end of Trump’s remarks. The group supports his crackdown on illegal immigration.
“My view is as a sheriff, if we are going to secure the homeland it is imperative that he build some kind of border wall,” Ira Edwards, sheriff of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, stated, according to USA Today.
The White House roundtable came amid contentious debate in Congress over how to approach immigration reform. DACA, as an executive decree, will expire very shortly and immigrant-rights activists are demanding legislation to save it.
The Trump administration released its own immigration plan last month. The comprehensive proposal offers wins for both Democrats and Republicans.
The proposal would provide a pathway to citizenship for around 1.8 million “Dreamers” and also calls for a $25 billion added investment in border security — including the construction of a wall on the U.S. southern border.
As mentioned in his statement to the Sheriffs Association, Trump is demanding the end to the visa lottery system and chain migration — two programs that have allowed alleged terrorists into the country in recent time. New York City was rocked with two separate attacks, both a month within each other, from alleged terrorists who entered by way of the programs.
The president, however, may not be finding common ground with lawmakers.
The White House on Thursday threatened to veto bipartisan legislation currently being considered in the Senate, accusing the bill of being detrimental to border security.
“This amendment would drastically change our national immigration policy for the worse by weakening border security and undercutting existing immigration law,” the White House said in a statement, according to CNN.
“The administration is committed to finding a permanent, fair, and legal solution for DACA,” the statement continued. “But this amendment would only compound the problem by encouraging millions of additional minors to be smuggled into the United States. We need to solve the problem, not perpetuate it indefinitely.”
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